Regal, but not respected: my life as a predator

Not a cowardly lion
(Photo credit: Saucy Salad) (Lion says, “I’ll give YOU a saucy salad.”)

I work my tail off.

That’s not to say I’m not having fun sometimes, but really – okay, so my tail isn’t really falling off, but it has narrowly escaped a few near-manglings; one time it was almost chomped off by a sneaky old crocodile! I don’t know if they realize that I can’t grow the tail back, or that I need to keep it. My tail is part of what makes me fast and efficient.

Most don’t realize that I am fast and efficient, or so hard-working; they complain that all I do is lie around in the sun all day. Do they not realize how much heat I generate just by moving around? When it comes to eating around here, it’s catch as catch can, and oftentimes we eat just once every few days. So we eat a lot at once, and we try to save our energy for when we need it most. I’m trying to carry about thirty kilos of impala in my guts for up to half the week. Even then, we still have to worry about buffalo.

Don’t cross the buffalo; we’re told that literally the day we’re born. I remember my mother licking me clean, saying “don’t cross the buffalo, whatever you do. They’re easily confused, and meaner than Catholic school nuns”; so we avoid them like the plague, and they end up hating us because they think we’re snobs. Now that I’m old enough to understand where we’re going wrong in this whole situation, it’s really too late to do anything about it. It’s a vicious cycle, if you’ll pardon the cliche; and if it’s not buffalo it’s rhinos. If it’s not rhinos its crocs, or hyenas, or those bloody tsetse flies.

And don’t even get me started on elephants and humans. The intelligentsia of the animal world, the primates and the pachyderms; they’re just as bad as the rest, just as clueless to their intended roles.

No, I get a bad rap. We get a bad rap. Others, they think it’s all fun and tans and laying in the sand all day, but that’s really not it. Their thought processes are like radio static. “Look mate,” I say, “you just don’t get how much we have to work. All that laying around is hard work, love. You think we’re being lazy all day but you don’t stick around to see what happens when a zebra gets too close to where I’m lying in wait. Being the King, it’s not all fun and games, sometimes you have to wake up and smell the territorial markings, and that’s hard work too. It’s all about patience, vigilance, and above all, respect for the proper order of things. Sure, you’re safe now, but what are you – ten, twelve inches from my paws? I dare you to come and say it to my face.”

I’d challenge any one of them to spend a few days in my paws; that’s all I’m saying.

This post was prompted by this week’s What If? Writing Challenge. What if you gave it the old college try?

What if? Weekly writing challenge


  1. It’s good to hear about a lion’s life directly from the source. Granted, the buffalo really are a foul-tempered lot, but then you folks have a habit of suffocating and eating them. That could make anyone just a teensy weensy bit testy. All in all, I feel for the plight of the lion, always having to hunt at night because that’s the only time it’s cool enough for real exercise. I enjoyed this piece a lot.

  2. I like your take on the lion as king, I’m going to post my response soon and might have to challenge for the rightful place as king. Thanks for linking up to the challenge

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